USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.
College baseball coaches are looking for the total package when recruiting a student-athlete. They’re looking for a kid that excels in the classroom, on the field and in the community. They’re searching for a reliable young adult that has the physical and emotional maturity it takes to compete at the highest level. And that’s exactly what college baseball coaches from all over the country are finding at Jesuit College Prep in Dallas. With 13 former Rangers on current college rosters and three more already signed out of the class of 2017, Jesuit just keeps pumping out quality recruits, year-in-and-year-out.
This week, I sat down with assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator Sean Gavin to better understand the Ranger formula on getting their guys to the next level. Here is what he had to say.
Q: What is the college recruiting philosophy of the Jesuit coaching staff?
A: We are very proud of what we have established at Jesuit. Our guys work extremely hard to represent our program and our school the right way, day-in-and-day-out. We understand the requirements and demands it takes to play here. Because of that, our staff genuinely believes that if you can play baseball at Jesuit, then there’s a place for you to play at the collegiate level.
Often times, high school kids aren’t really sure if playing in college is a possibility until they hear it from a coach’s mouth. It’s our job as a coaching staff to help them realize that the opportunities are there. And, by giving each player an honest assessment of what level and schools make the most sense for their abilities, we’re forcing our guys to take ownership of the process. Sure, we will walk with them every step of the way but, ultimately, it’s on them to decide whether or not they want to play college baseball. I think one of the big reasons why we’ve had so many guys move on to the next level is because each player made the personal decision to do so. You can’t force a guy to play in college if that’s not what he really wants to do. It’s our philosophy to educate our guys and support the decisions they make.
Q: Speak more specifically on the student-athlete’s role in the college recruiting process.
A: It’s all on your shoulders. If you want to play college athletics, you have to care about it more than your coach does. We tell all of our guys the same thing when it comes to recruiting. It’s great that you want to play college baseball. But if you genuinely want to, you have to care about it more than we do and you have to work harder toward that goal than we will. If we as coaches are doing all the work for you, than it’s not something you really want that badly. In every scenario, you the athlete, needs to be steering the ship.
Q: What is a parent(s) role in the college recruiting process?
A: First of all, it’s very important for us as coaches to set expectations for the parents. At Jesuit, we will sit down with our parents each year and let them know exactly what they can expect from us, as coaches. We discuss a general overview of what we will be doing and how we will be doing it. Our parents have been great at Jesuit. They understand what we’re doing and ultimately, they all would tell you that it’s their son’s decision on where he wants to go. They understand that it will affect the rest of his life, no one else’s, therefore he should be the one with the final say. Beyond that, I always tell parents to be parents, first. It’s a stressful enough situation as it is and the more supportive they can be, the easier they will make it for their son.
Q: How do you get a player to create realistic expectations on playing at the Division I level?
A: That’s the million dollar question! I think the best way to answer that is if you’re a division I caliber athlete, you’re going to know it. It’s something that you’re very situationally aware of. The hard part about answering that question is we’ve seen guys commit to Division I schools as early as freshmen year and we’ve seen guys commit as late as after the spring season of their senior year. The recruiting timeline is different for every athlete because there are so many different variables that go into the process. You have to be the right guy at the right time for the right program. It’s just not an exact science.
Q: How important is video in the recruiting process?
A: Video is everything! Let’s just say you went 3-for-4 yesterday against one of the best pitchers in your area. You hit two doubles, hit a home run and you had 4 RBI. If there isn’t a college coach there to see it, then it never happened unless it’s on video. Most college baseball programs don’t have huge recruiting budgets to fly all over the country watching players. If those college coaches can’t fly down to Dallas to recruit our athletes, they have to see video before anything else gets put into motion. Video has been a major factor in getting our guys a lot of attention from a wide variety of schools. We record everything because we want to give a college coach the best sample size of what any of our guys has to offer.